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176

(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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Jenny sat silent for a second, then said: “Tell me about
Cesca.”

“Well, I don’t think Cesca has touched a paint-brush since
she married. When I went to see them she opened the door;
they have no servant. She wore a big apron and had a broom
in her hand. They have a studio and two small rooms; they
cannot both work in the studio, of course, and her whole time
is taken up with the house, she said. The first morning I was
there she sprawled on the floor the whole time. Ahlin was
out. First she swept, then she crept round and poked under
the furniture with a brush for those little tufts of dust, you
know, that stick in the corners. Then she scrubbed the floor
and dusted the room, and you should have seen how awkwardly
she did it all. We went out to buy food together; I was to
lunch with them. When Ahlin came home she retired to the
kitchen, and when the lunch was ready at last, all her little
curls were damp — but the food was not bad. She washed
up in the most unpractical way, going to the sink with every
article to rinse it under the tap. Ahlin and I helped her, and
I gave her some good advice, you know.

“I asked them to dine with me, and Cesca, poor thing, was
very pleased at not having to cook and wash up.

“If there are going to be children — as I suppose there are
— you may depend upon it that Cesca has done with painting,
and it would be a great pity. I cannot help thinking it’s
sad.”

“I don’t know. Husband and children always hold the
first place with a woman; sooner or later she will long to have
them.”

Gunnar looked at her — then sighed:

“If they are fond of one another, that is to say.”

“Do you think Cesca is happy with Ahlin?”

“I don’t really know. I think she is very fond of him.
Anyhow it was ‘Lennart thinks’ and ‘Will you?’ and ‘Shall

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